I was in a geisha mood after The Sea Is Watching and stumbled across this little gem of a film. Seemed like it went by in about fifteen minutes. They don't mess around in these older films. There was probably more cultural significance going on than I soaked in but it was still a nice little story about challenging mores in the geisha world. I'm not sure if there was a lesbian subtext or not but it did have a little girl power going on, albeit within a restricted context. Great performance by Michiyo Kogure as the patron of the geisha wannabe. I was surprised at how real these characters seemed as opposed to other depictions in other geisha films.
In the post-war Gion district of Kyoto, the geisha Miyoharu agrees to apprentice the 16 year-old Eiko, whose mother was a former geisha who had just died. After a year of training they have to find a large sum of money before Eiko can debut. Miyoharu borrows the money from the tea-house owner, Okimi, who in turn obtains the money from the businessman Kusuda. Kusuda fancies Eiko himself and wants to give Miyoharu to Kanzaki in order to close a large business deal. However both geishas have minds of their own and, going against tradition, want to be able to say no to clients.